I thought my DVR was going to start spouting off smoke by the end of Sunday night. Between the end of the US Open, Food Network Star, True Detective S2, Ballers, and Cuthroat Kitchen, that should have been enough to put the machine into a coma. However, it was ABC’s Sunday Funday lineup that both sent the DVR over the top, as well as may have been some of the most fun television that night.
Celebrity Family Feud returned on Sunday for the first time since 2008, when NBC thought it was a good idea to have Al Roker host the program. You know the Family Feud franchise was already in trouble because in 2008, J. Peterman himself, John O’Hurley was the permanent host of the daytime version, and he wasn’t good enough to carry the torch to the primetime, celebrity edition. In 2010, Steve Harvey took over the helm to Family Feud, and has brought it back to the powerhouse that it used to be during the Dawson/Combs days.
Harvey’s Feud has become known for it’s ridiculous, dirty answer bating questions, but that is also what is making the program so successful. So, it was no surprise when the first survey out of the gate on Sunday was, “Name Something A Nude Magician Might Pull A Rabbit Out Of”. Within the first three minutes of the episode, you get every good moment out of a Steve Harvey Feud episode. Blackish’s Anthony Anderson’s mom answers the question with “His Nuts”. Steve puts on his, “what the hell did you just say” face, and the hilarity ensues. The entirety of the Anthony Anderson/Toni Braxton portion of the show is what Steve Harvey Celebrity Family Feud episode should be. The second half, Monica Potter vs. Curtis Stone, would have existed better during the Al Roker season. Potter’s family was pretty entertaining, but god help Curtis Stone. Curtis was so bad at the game, and when someone you like is playing Celebrity Family Feud, and they’re terrible, you just feel so bad for them. He was so bad.
It will be interesting to see the next couple of epsiodes. The match-ups include: NFL’s AFC vs NFC, Dancing with the Stars vs. The Bachelor/ette, Dr. Phil vs. Garry and Penny Marshall, Kevin McHale (not that one, the one from Glee) vs. Fred Willard (that one). According to game show experts, BuzzerBlog, Family Feud debuted to 8.5 million viewers, on a night that had all the aforementioned programs on at the same time. That’s a good start, and Steve Harvey’s Feud will continue to bring the people back.
ABC also brought back Battlebots to its Sunday Funday lineup and it proved to be pretty awesome as well. Battlebots ran for four seasons from 2000-2002 on Comedy Central, and while the premise of the show is the same, the production value put in for this series is straight out of ESPN. From the lights, the camera angles, everything… this is top notch entertainment value, for a program about robots that fight one another. The SportsCenter style set helps give this program legitimacy.
Also regarding production value, ABC’s new version of Battlebots is hosted by three Fox Sports anchors. Molly McGrath is your presenter, she opens the show and lays down the introduction to what this show is all about. Chris Rose, most well known from being the host of Best Damn Sports Show, is your “play-by-play” man while retired UFC fighter, Kenny “KenFlo” Florian is your color comentator. Also on hand to help bring the show to you are former “Attack of the Show” correspondent Allison Haslip and NASA Systems Engineer/Mohawk Guy, Bobak Ferdowski. Rounding out the cast are the judges: Special Effects Artist Fon Davis, NASA Astronaut Leland Melvin, and Nerdist correspondent Jessica Chobot.
Now that the introductions are out of the way, let’s get to the battles. To be the top robot in Battlebots, it will have to survive five fights over the series. There are 24 robots in the tournament, with the 12 winners, and four wild card entrants advancing to the round of 16. Every match after that will be an elimination round. My initial concern with the program was that it was an hour long show, but they were only going to show four, three minute fights. That leaves 48 minutes of filler and commercials to round out the program, but it all flew by pretty quickly. It helps that Rose, Florian and McGrath are able to speak about all of these different teams and robots as though they are following the Warriors vs Cavs in the NBA Tournament. The amount of research and preparation that has gone into this program shows.
In all four fights that aired on Sunday, every one had a great deal of action. Even if one robot incapacitated another in the opening seconds, it still pushed it around and caused just utter destruction, using the traps of the arena to its advantage. I found it interesting that some of the robots get to have little drone robots. I’m sure there are rules to what these smaller robots can/can’t do, but when a flamethrowing one was destroyed by a bot with a giant blade, a huge explosion occurred, and ABC sat back and said, yep this is going to be good. I am certainly looking forward to the next episodes of Battlebots.
Did you catch “Sunday Funday” this past week? What did you think about it?